Belinda Jo Adams ~~ Author of Our School at Home. The Adams family homeschooled from 1984 - 1990. This booklet is not a how-to book. It is a what-we-did book. Belinda Jo Adams shares with you some of the activities her family used in their homeschool.
2005 - Many people have read Our School at Home and told me that they were inspired to either homeschool their children or to continue after being burned out. I decided to put it on our web page so others could read it also. I hope you will let me know if it helps you. God bless you. Belinda
INTRODUCTION -- First, I want to say my husband and I are not college graduates, leaders, or counselors. We are an ordinary couple with a desire to do God's will in our lives, as near as we know how. My sister-in-law encouraged me to write this book. I told her there are at least a thousand books on homeschooling. She told me she saw no reason there could not be one thousand and one. So, here goes. This is not a how-to book. It is a what-we-did book. I want to share with you what we did in our home school. If you get one thing that will help you, then it will be worth my effort. God blessed us with four families - four sets of parents and eighteen brothers and sisters. I tell you this because not all of them agreed with us. However, none of them objected or interfered with what we did. Because our parents thought children should go to public school, I know we scared them. I want to thank them for their support even when they were not sure that what we were doing was right. A special thank you goes to my sister who supported and encouraged us and homeschooled her children some. I would also like to take this time to say thank you to a special friend who knew we would probably homeschool, but did not push us. Thank you, also, to leaders of two different support groups and to the organizations that helped us with advice. THANKS, Belinda Jo Adams
Homeschooling is a great adventure A challenge and a blessing, too. Learning comes not just from books. There are many areas to pursue.
Seeing first hand what happens By going on field trips galore. Learning by on-hand experience When freely allowed to explore.
If children can learn without hurry And can go at their own pace, Nothing can quite compare With the victorious look on each face.
Being taught self-discipline is the answer In learning to write, to cipher, or to read. Training them to have concern for others And helping when there is a need.
Homeschooling is not for everyone But, for the ones who were willing to try, God has surely blessed our efforts And talents we were willing to apply.
When we started homeschooling, people advised us to name our school. We chose CRA Private school. Our daughters' names are Crystal and Rachael Adams ... and homeschooling is about as private as it gets! People also advised us to write a statement explaining why we homeschool, so we would be ready with an answer if anyone asked. The following is what we wrote October 1984. Our children have been in private school since kindergarten. We thought this was best for them. The academic and Christian teachings were, but the social and learning pressures were not. We felt there should be a better way for them to learn. Our oldest daughter was in the fifth grade and had been burned out with education since fourth grade. She was under pressure to learn too much, too fast. Her grades began to fall and she found it hard to keep up with the other students, which made her feel inferior. People gave us advice about how to handle our situation. We believed in our daughter and found it hard to do some of the things suggested. We continued praying and waiting for an answer. We spent much time trying to help her after school from 4-8 PM. This included homework, as well as unfinished class work. The only breaks were for supper and bath. This frustrated all four of us. We were tired and had no family time. There was no time to spend with our other daughter. I could not teach them the importance of picking up after themselves or helping around the house. One of Crystal's teachers suggested we encourage her to read books. She said this would help her gain a broader knowledge of the world around her. There was no time. When time appeared, she surely did not want to read. She was only ten years old and wanted to play. People suggested we have special dates with the girls. For real! When? By November, Crystal had been on restriction since the third week of school. This meant no playing with friends or extra activities until she improved her grades. We had to do something. Right? She was in a Bible club at church, where they expected her to learn at least two sections of her handbook each week. There was no time. Should we have forced her to memorize? We did not want her to hate her club, the Bible, or God. She also loved art and wanted to take ceramic lessons. Again .... no time. We decided to use it for an encouragement. "If your grades improve, then you can take ceramic classes." It did not work. Nothing seemed to work. Everything discouraged her. She thought she was dumb. She begged us to put her back into the fourth grade. We knew she was smart, though. We could see this when she answered questions right, when not being tested. We thought about another school for her, but knew we would have two school's functions to attend, two carpools, conflicting schedules, etc. We heard about homeschooling. A couple of our friends were doing it, but we were not sure of our ability. We read and prayed about it. We considered the fact that we taught her anyway. Why not do it in homeschool during normal school hours and accomplish more. We decided to make the change during Christmas break. When I told her of our decision to homeschool her, she hugged me, and I could feel the burden rolling off her shoulders. At first, we did not tell every one of our decision. We wanted to make sure it worked first. When we did start telling, people's reactions disappointed us. We decided to keep the girls at home to help their grades improve. I cannot remember one person asking, "But, what about their learning?" No, they asked, "But, what about their social life?" We did not send them to school for social. We sent them to school to learn. We considered any social time that they enjoyed as extra. Due to this response, during the summer, I kept a journal in a spiral bound notebook. In the margin, I wrote the subject covered. For example, if they helped at the grocery store, then I put down home economics. Every time they did something we considered as social, I put social in the margin. The tally of the summer's log included 58 social times, not including church services. Besides teaching Crystal the facts learned in school, our main goal was to build her self-confidence. To do this, we encouraged her to finish her Bible club handbooks. She was in the third year, but only half finished with her second book. She finished both of them and received her trophy. She was a quiet child and would not become involved much before this. During the first year, we noticed that she became more outgoing. One day we saw her with her friends, and she was leading the game. We planned only to catch her up to her grade level and re-enter her in school the next fall. The following are some journal entries that changed our minds. February - Crystal is using math in everyday happenings. It does not seem to be as much of a burden to her. March - We have been homeschooling for three months now. We still enjoy it. We are looking forward to next year. April - We are still homeschooling. It is as good as we thought it would be. We are doing right! June - We worked hard these past six months, but it was worth it. We have finished for the year. -- Crystal now has time to read for pleasure ... and loves it. -- She has time to do things on her own. -- She is taking ukulele lessons and ceramic classes. -- No more restriction. -- No more homework!!! So, an entry in October read like this: This year we are homeschooling our other daughter and we are finding progress. We have been homeschooling for nine months. We plan to continue because we have seen much improvement in this short time. We are able to work one-on-one with them, and this has brought us closer together as a family. One thing we do is reach out to our neighbors and older friends who are lonely or sick. This way the girls learn about life. We never had time for this before. Neither of the girls missed out on social needs. People of all ages continually passed through our home. We thought it was important for them to interact with people. We invited girls over and our girls went to their homes. They baby-sat, helped in a home business, and did volunteer work for the church. We made crafts for a craft show and learned the art of sitting all day meeting people, but not making much money. The more than 70 field trips, either with us or with the two different homeschool support groups, included the usual items as zoos, talks, and demonstrations. Adult friends taught them arts and crafts as well as cooking. Uncles and Aunts gave tours of their work places. Some of these activities are listed under the section 'where and what'. No, our girls did not miss out on social times. Neither Crystal nor Rachael was afraid to go up to an adult and start a conversation. They were outgoing and involved in different areas at church, as well as away from church. Crystal worked at a department store during her last two years of school and then started in childcare. Rachael worked at the public library and sometimes helped with children's classes there. She attended Trinity Baptist College and received a degree in church secretarial. She worked in the library at the college. During the summer, she worked as a Kelly Girl. Though it was a temporary job placement, she stayed at one office for eight weeks. There was much more. I am only sharing the main things with you. That is why we started homeschooling and continued. Each year we only planned to teach that year, and see about the next year when it came. We also planned to place them in school when they entered the ninth grade, but we continued to see progress and asked ourselves, "Why?" It still amazes me when I stop to think they learned the things they needed to know and we did it AT HOME! Sure, sometimes, we were tempted to enroll them into a school. Then I could do the things I wanted to do. I reminded myself that I was doing what I wanted to do. I am glad we did not place them in school until we knew it was what God wanted us to do. He gave us eight and a half years together and I am glad. As time went on, when our friends and relatives saw the girls learning and fitting into society all right, they decided that maybe we did the right thing after all. I know we did, and I am glad God allowed us to do so.
There is more to the book; how, where, what, blessings and Homeschool High School.
If you are interested, contact me and I can share more with you.
Update of January, 2002 It has been almost 9 years since Rachael graduated and I retired from homeschooling. They have both worked several different jobs during the years and have done well, both academically and socially.